Over 200 Californians Encourage Legislators to #ACT4ALZ

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Alzheimer’s Association volunteer advocates took their message to Sacramento.

On February 28th, 225 advocates from across California came to the state capitol for Advocacy Day. First timers and seasoned volunteer advocates spent the morning learning about Alzheimer’s policy issues. Attendees heard from our policy staff, as well as those personally impacted by the issues we are addressing.

Over lunch, our teams gathered to plan their meetings and practice their remarks. Each team was led by an experienced advocate.

In the afternoon, it was off to visits with legislators and/or staff members in every office. Our legislative requests focused on three topics to #ACT4ALZ:

Advocates

  • Accelerate research;
  • Care and support; and
  • Tools and training for detection and diagnosis.

Words of wisdom from our advocates
Our advocates are a passionate group of people who want to make a difference for the 630,000 Californians living with Alzheimer’s and 1.6 million unpaid caregivers. We asked a few of them to share their experiences.

Worried that you don’t know enough to be an advocate? Gwen Gates talks about how much training is provided to our advocates, to help them feel prepared.

What should our legislators take away?
Listen to what our advocates want their legislators to remember after the meetings.

What is the role for Millennials?
Miss Napa County, Jill Santos, talks about getting involved in Alzheimer’s advocacy.

Why is it important to share your story with legislators?
Steven Barbieri, who is living with younger-onset dementia and his wife, Tracy, talk about the power of sharing your story and asking legislators about their connections to Alzheimer’s. They also discuss the power of early diagnosis and educating people to reduce the stigma.

Curious about our Advocacy Forum in Washington, D.C.?
Ina Pottorff tells how she got hooked on going to the Forum.

 

Bills and budgets requests for research, care and diagnosis

Advocacy Team

Through relationships built at the California capitol over the years by our volunteer advocates and policy staff, we had several issues to discuss in our visits. We have asked the legislators to support:

  • AB 2400 (Kalra) – Renew California’s voluntary Tax Check-off for Alzheimer’s disease research.
  • Governor Brown’s budget proposal to increase Alzheimer’s research funding by $3.1 million annually.
  • AB 2233 (Kalra) – Expand California’s Medi-Cal Assisted Living Waiver to serve more individuals with cognitive impairments at-risk of costly nursing home placement.
  • Governor Brown’s budget proposal to add 2,000 new slots to the existing Medi-Cal Assisted Living Waiver program.
  • AB 2025 (Maienschein) – Invest in critical home and community-based services at the local level.
  • Alzheimer’s Association’s $2.2 million stakeholder budget request to fund the first public education campaign to promote early detection, in partnership with the Area Agencies on Aging (AAA).
  • AB 1955 (Limón) – Establish the first public education campaign to promote early detection in partnership with the statewide AAA network.

Learn more about these issues in our policy platform.

Monique Limón and Bill Monning recognized for their efforts
We recognized Assemblymember Monique Limón and Senator Bill Monning as our Legislators of the Year.

Assemblymember Monique Limón
As a freshman legislator, last year Assemblymember Monique Limón introduced AB 614 on behalf of the Ventura County Area Agency on Aging. The bill was designed to bring Alzheimer’s and dementia training to all 33 Area Agencies on Aging in California.

This year, she is authoring AB 1955, the Alzheimer’s Association sponsored bill to promote early detection through a statewide public education campaign, in partnership with the AAA network.

Senator Bill Monning
We honored Senator Monning for his work on behalf of our state’s most vulnerable older adults, residents of skilled nursing facilities who live with Alzheimer’s disease. Last year, he offered to carry legislation to improve dementia training for Certified Nurse Assistants.

Senator Monning wanted to impact quality of life for individuals who are often forgotten in health care conversations. He worked very hard to gain unanimous, bipartisan support for his bill, SB 449. Governor Brown signed the bill into law on September 25, 2017. This law is now being implemented by the state Department of Public Health.

Advocates (and friends) boosted our reach on social media
We encouraged our advocates to get social on Advocacy Day, but not just at the capitol. Many snapped photos and shared their stories on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Tweet from Assemblymember Marc Berman

On Twitter alone, almost 60 people tweeted over 250 times, using #ACT4ALZ. Several legislators joined in, thanking advocates for the meetings or expressing their support.

Want to see the posts? Go to Twitter (or Instagram or Facebook) and search for #ACT4ALZ. You can also see photos from Advocacy Day.

Rave reviews from participants
Several themes appeared on the anonymous evaluations completed by attendees at the end of Advocacy Day. Participants appreciated:

  • The opportunity for individuals living with Alzheimer’s and other dementias to share their stories
  • Learning about current policy priorities so they felt prepared to talk to legislators
  • Hearing compelling personal stories from a diverse group of Californians
  • Meeting other advocates from their region and across California
  • Receiving clear materials to use in the visits
  • The structure and organization of the event
  • Participating in successful visits with legislators and their staff
  • Having the support from knowledgeable team leaders
  • Being part of a group with such great energy and passion

We’d like to close with a few quotes from Advocacy Day participants.

  • “I appreciated being with others affected by Alzheimer’s and helping to change the future.”
  • “Meeting with people who can make a change was so inspiring.”
  • “I enjoyed myself and felt that I was really making a contribution.”

If you’d like to learn more about how to get involved in our state or federal advocacy efforts, visit us online or call 800.272.3900.

Registration for the Advocacy Forum in Washington, D.C. (June 17-19, 2018) is now open.

Learn more:

 

 

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